Category Archives: Uncategorized

Geographic Scapegoating: It’s Not The Place That’s The Problem

Courtesy of Miakosamuio on Flickr

Courtesy of Miakosamuio on Flickr

When I told one friend of mine that my family and I would be moving from Chicago to the Indianapolis area, she asked worriedly, “Will you be safe there?” She, a liberal, white woman, was certain that a black family moving to the heart of a red state would be greeted by open hostility or worse. Her comment betrayed a flaw in the way society often thinks about issues of inequality, relying on geographic scapegoats to avoid addressing widespread, systemic “isms”.

In the United States, the so-called “flyover states” serve as regional boogeymen for a host of social justice issues. The South and the Midwest are the places that denizens of the coasts can smugly identify as the source of all the country’s racism, homophobia, sexism and transphobia. And while it is true that some places have unique histories of injustice and hostility toward marginalized peoples. It is also true that America as a whole has a unique history of injustice and hostility toward marginalized people–no city or burgh within our borders is immune.

In the case of my worried friend, her cartoonish idea of conservative Midwesterners, chasing black families with sticks and torches to the soundtrack of a cackling Rush Limbaugh, allowed her personal racism to go unchecked. More broadly, a national focus on the imagined rampant and open bigotry of geographic scapegoats allows real inequality, especially the less overt kind, to fester both in the flyover states and everywhere else.

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A Shift In The SBF Schedule

Hey, SBF community–

typewriter

First of all, thank you so very much for supporting our blog so far, even when our posts are late!

When we started this blog, we wanted to make sure that we gave you thoughtful–sometimes silly, sometimes saucy, but always going for thoughtful–posts about race, gender, sex and sexuality, class, dis/ability, and age, among other issues, as seen from our particulars views as Generation X feminists.

And we also know that those posts take time to write. Lots of time. And, between all of our life happenings–major life moves, day jobs and paying gigs, and families, among other things–we think it best to pare down our writing schedule in order to maintain the quality of posts you expect from Squeezed Between Feminisms. So, we’re going to post a regular writing on Fridays. If we have more posts during the week, we’ll definitely let you know on Facebook and Twitter.

See you next Friday, SBFers!

–Best,

Tami and Andrea

“Roll Tide!”: A Tale of Accidental Communities

By Aimee Thorne-Thomsen

Alabama Crimson Tide Sweatshirt

“Roll Tide,” said the young man standing next to me on the corner of North Capitol and F Streets. He’d been looking at me sideways for a couple of minutes, but I didn’t know why, nor did I care. I was on my way to help my colleagues set up for our annual youth conference, the Urban Retreat, dressed in jeans, sneakers and my Alabama sweatshirt. Not the costume I usually wear to work, but one I am much more comfortable in. We had crossed North Capitol alongside each other and were waiting for the light to change when he uttered the famous rally chant. He must have been gauging whether I really was a fan of the Alabama football team before he said it, though I am not sure how he measured that by looking at me sideways as we crossed the street. After my own delayed reaction, I replied, “Roll Tide,” with a smile.

I’m a lifelong sports fan, going to Yankees games as a child and jumping for joy when the Knicks drafted Patrick Ewing. Baseball, basketball, football, tennis, cycling, volleyball, swimming, track and field, etc we watched all of them when I was growing up. I can survive on a steady diet of ESPN and little else. Despite this, I was still surprised at how differently the college football universe is, especially if you cheer for Alabama. I mean when I walk around the streets of New York, I don’t acknowledge every Yankee fan I encounter. (Part of that is because as New Yorker, you don’t really acknowledge anyone, and the other part is there are so damn many Yankee fans that I would never have time to breathe if I acknowledged each and every one I encountered.) I know what you’re thinking: How does a girl from the Bronx become a fan of ‘Bama? I have no relationship to the University of Alabama, my family has no roots in Alabama, hell,  I’ve never even been to Alabama. What gives?  How I came to yell “Roll Tide!” is a story of accidental communities.

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The Squeezed Between Feminisms Dialogue: How We Got Here, Where We’re Going, And Benedict Cumberbatch

The following conversation appears this week on The Feminist Wire. Here, Andrea and I discuss why we launched this website.

women of color drawing

Tami: You had to work Benedict Cumberbatch in here, didn’t you? I’m beginning to think you’re secretly a bigger fan than I am! I’m no stranger to Andrea shenanigans. We’ve known each other, what, five or six years?

Andrea: Sis, I know Cumberbatch is your catnip, so I knew I could get you here.

As far as knowing each other, I think so. I remember so loving your old blog, What Tami Said, where I committed a few shenanigans in the comments section. But I think that where we realized that we were both born and reared in the Midwest, that we looooved Duran Duran, and that we watched Hee Haw (word to Porter Wagoner, Minnie Pearl, and Dolly Parton).

Tami: And, of course, like all good things, Carmen (Van Kerckhove) Sognonvi is behind our really cyber-meeting. We were both contributors and, eventually, editors at Racialicious. I’m still there, of course, working with Latoya Peterson. I was a huge fan of your work as a Sexual Correspondent there. And we both spent some time writing for Change.org’s short-lived site focused on race.

Andrea: And as quiet as it’s kept, you and I didn’t meet in person until this past Spring. Yes, shenanigans ensued.

We actually thought about starting a blog together about a year ago, but I guess we weren’t at the point where we were ready to do it.

Tami: Two weeks ago, we did it. We launched Squeezed Between Feminisms (SBF). What motivated us is that we both realized our relationship with online feminism is changing as we grow older. You did some research, and it hit us that we probably weren’t alone. A lot of Gen X women are online, which makes sense as the web was emerging as a communications tool as we were coming of age. Still, we both agree that the presence of women our age is not reflected in the content of most popular feminist websites.

Can you explain how you feel online feminism meets or doesn’t meet your needs a black, 40-something woman?

Feminists of a Certain Age

Andrea: I feel like what I’ve seen online really speaks to the concerns and interests of 20-something and 30-something feminists. This makes demographic sense, as stats can support.

But feminism is older than that; at 44, I’m older than that. I remember when, say, bell hooks’ book, Ain’t I A Woman, arrived on the feminist scene. I remember when Making Face, Making Soul first came to my women’s studies classes. I remember the National Women’s Studies Association fallout. But I also remember the seismic shift from Second Wave to Third Wave feminism, not as contested canon, but as a lived contested event. As much as I love talking with and learning from my younger feminist homies, I also wanted a space where I could talk all of those things as lived experience, not just as something learned in college. I wanted a place to talk about the “Porn Wars” and its effect and how the Riot Grrls weren’t the only way to be a feminists–in fact, the Riot Grrls weren’t relevant to me. Lisa Jones was.

Tami: I agree, Andrea. As Gen Xers–and Gen Xers of color–we bring a different context to feminism, but because we are outnumbered, that contribution is often erased.

I have learned a lot from online feminism, but lately I have felt squeezed out of the conversation. Society has long rendered women over 40 invisible. Feminism shouldn’t do that. But I find that spaces like The Feminist Wire, which digs into race and gender and sexuality and class through a feminist lens and speaks across generations, are rare indeed. Jane Pratt is 50, but even her XOJane preferences the voices of 20-somethings. If Lena Dunham and Zooey Deschanel are the pop culture centers of online feminist conversation, then I think a whole lot of people, including me, aren’t getting their needs addressed.

For instance, I want to talk about reproductive health care and that includes birth control and abortion, but I also want to talk about perimenopause and sexual health post-35.

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